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The Cherokee Syllabary
The written form of the Cherokee language was developed by Sequoyah, who completed his twelve-year work and gave it to the Cherokee people in 1821. For many years following, it is estimated that some 90% of the Cherokees knew their language and its written form. Since 1907, the year Oklahoma gained statehood, that figure has been in steady decline. Today fewer than 10% of the Cherokee people can speak their own language, and fewer still know how to read or write the syllabary.
The Cherokee "alphabet" is called a "syllabary" since each character represents a syllable. There were 86 symbols in Sequoyah's original syllabary. The Cherokee Companion software presents 84 of them, excluding one of the three symbols for the "NAH" syllable, and another which was dropped by Sequoyah several years after he created the syllabary.
The original syllabary was modified by Rev. Samuel A. Worcester, who collaborated with Sequoyah to re-shape the characters into forms that would allow the creation of type for a printing press. The re-shaped syllabary characters have been in use since 1828, and have come to be known as Sequoyah's syllabary. The font that we use today follows the tradition set by that "old-style" litho font.
The Cherokee Companion
This software is dedicated to the memory of the Ancient Ones who thought, dreamt, and spoke in the Cherokee language long before anyone tried to take it away from their descendants.
May our continued use of their beautiful language serve as a constant reminder that America is built upon the graves of Indians - whose language and descendants may be found everywhere today.
http://www.intertribal.net/NAT/Cherokee … C1home.htm